Star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish will be posted tomorrow, allowing major league teams to sign him like any other free agent. Darvish has been a foreign sensation over the past few years, posting insane numbers in the Nippon Professional Baseball. The 25-year old right hander has played in Japan professionally since 2005. In seven seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Darvish won two MVP awards, three strikeout titles, and two gold glove awards while posting a 1.99 career ERA.
The level of competition in Japan is definitely a step down from the MLB but Darvish’s dominating performances still make him a top free agent on the market. In fact, with Mark Buehrle signing in Miami and C.J. Wilson signing in Los Angeles with the Angels, Darvish may be the best free agent pitcher in the league tomorrow.
After a quiet start to the off-season, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will likely rear their heads in the Darvish sweepstakes. Both teams need starters and neither has spent all that much money this off-season. The Texas Rangers will also be a top contender for Darvish. After losing their ace to a division rival, Nolan Ryan and John Daniels know they need to replenish the top of their rotation quickly and Darvish is the best option on the market. You can probably expect the Miami Marlins to be mentioned with Darvish at some point simply because that’s the theme of the off-season.
I’d also expect the Chicago Cubs to make a big offer to Darvish. Theo Epstein has to make a big move this off-season to show the Cubbie faithful that he will be putting an end to the billy goat curse and so far he’s not made too big of a play for either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. Epstein was linked to Darvish when he was with the Red Sox so there is a history between the two. I’m sure the fact that Ryan Dempster as his ace is something Epstein would like to change before starting his inaugural season with the Cubs.
One final, darkhorse team: the Toronto Blue Jays. Because Alex Anthopoulos is the man. And he is not yet 40.